These days, it really isn’t enough to just pass the USMLE Step 1 exam, you really do need to score above 200 if you want any chance of getting into a primary care residency. With that said, if you hope to get into a competitive residency such as dermatology, radiology, or plastic surgery, you will need to aim for a score of at least 1 standard deviation above average. Since aiming high should be your goal regardless of your career ambitions, let’s explore five tricks that you can use to help yourself achieve the highest Step 1 score possible.
Trick #1 – Start doing qbank questions from day 1
Doing questions should not be left for hardcore Step 1 prep, instead they should be done from the get-go of medical school, alongside each of your basic science classes.
Trick #2 – Start preparing early
Get into the USMLE mindset from day 1. While some people may think this is too early, the ultimate goal is to score well on boards, so it is never to early to prepare your mind for this exam and start creating study notes for this purpose.
Trick #3 – Use a study guide prepared for the Step 1 alongside your classes
This is a great way to figure out what truly is considered high-yield and will also allow you to insert a few extra notes into your study guide, ensuring your have a great study source for when exam time comes along.
Trick #4 – Start using NBME exams six-months before your exam
This will be an important tool to gauge your baseline knowledge, then your four-month knowledge, then your two-month knowledge, and finally two-weeks before your exam. This will be the best way to gauge your progress and figure out if you are ready to write based on your scores.
Trick #5 – Get adequate rest along the way
Rest is important for so many reasons, but most importantly it helps to consolidate information into your long-term memory, which is essential for truly mastering the information and scoring well on your USMLE Step 1 exam.